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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style AleOld Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

258 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 258
Hads: 1,899
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 11.47%
Wants: 78
Gots: 498 | FT: 32
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Barleywine | 11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: smerrell on 02-18-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 258 | Hads: 1,899
Photo of FlemingVSKing
2.68/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I had a lot of expectations. I love Stone. And I'd loved my only other Barley Wine experience with Sam Adam's Griffin's Bow.

Old Guardian is probably made well, but it tastes like pure alcohol. I could seriously describe it as tasting like a rather subpar jello shot.

Now at 11% it is one of the very strongest beers I've had, and that's part of the taste, but I just don't pick up anything else of value in the flavor profile. The alcohol taste just sits right on top of what comes off of an amber ale background. Not fruit tones, no hop or spice notes.

Generally I'm not terribly concerned with the pour, but it is worth noting that after dumping this one straight down a pint mug like a Pepsi, it formed no head. A slight head emerged only after sitting for a few moments, and it was about 1/4 inch, fairly thin, and dissipated soon after.

I just don't see anything really special going on here.

Frankly I'd rather have some stock beer than this.

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is a clear medium amber red, a one and a half finger creamy off white head building. Good retention, good lacing.
The smell is citrusy hops, honey caramel, and some alcohol.
Tasting this beer, the sweet honey caramel flavors hit up front, being checked by fruity and citrusy hops in the middle. At the finish, some more bitter hop flavors as well as some bread flavor.
Nicely balanced beer with some kick, just as a Barley Wine is supposed to be.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 batch poured into an Old Guardian glass

A- Pours a clear dark orange with a one finger off whitish head. Decent retention and lacing. Some good alcohol legs here as well.

S- Smells very citrusy up front. A lot of grapefruit and some dark fruits as well. This beer smells very much like caramel and it also has some breaddy malt notes.

T- Nice bitterness up front and all throughout the mouth. A nice dark fruit and caramel malt flavor. A bit of a molasses and toffee. A good bit of a hop citrus flavor. A bit of alcohol. This is one bitter Barley wine. The flavor is not too bold or different but is very high quality and is there in balance.

M- This is a big beer but not as big as I was expecting an 11% barley wine to be. There is some alcohol taste as well as some warming. Very bitter and mouth tingling at some points.

O- This is a good barley wine and a perfect example of the style. It has a nice, but plain flavor. Would love to see it with some age. This beer is not as intense or as harsh as I was expecting. I always forget that Stone, while making bold and intense brews, never rules out drink ability. This is a high quality, available and reasonable priced barley wine that does the style justice.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into snifter

Appearance – Pours a deep reddish-amber color with a one finger yellow tinted off white head. The head has great retention and fades slowly over time to give decent lacing.

Smell – The aroma is of a big bready biscuit smell. Mixed with this aroma there is an alcohol smell and with some fruit aromas of citrus and banana. There is a very light pine aroma that mixes with the others overall creating a nice complex aroma.

Taste – A big bready and slightly hoppy flavor greet the tongue. The breadiness is initially mixed with a sweeter orange citrus and the banana that was in the nose. The orange taste also is present initially as a light hop like flavor. As the taste advances on, some nice pine hoppiness begins to develop with the sweeter citrus lightening. While the sweeter fruit flavors diminish in the middle of the taste, some caramel sweetness takes its place. The pine hop gets more intense as the taste advances until just before the end, where it levels out. While the hop flavors level out at the end, an alcohol taste comes into the flavor, leaving a nice warming aftertaste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of this brew is on the creamier side with a lower level of carbonation. While creamy, it is not as thick as would have been expected from its abv. and bready taste and smell. The lower carbonation suits the beer well although the body would be better a little chewier.

Overall – This is a barleywine with a nice taste and great smell. Its mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, but overall it is a good brew to sit back and enjoy.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, 2012 version, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark ruby color with two fingers of thick beige head, leaves some spotty lacing.

S- Smells like a monster, I'm getting a pretty even mix of piney, fruity hops and sweet caramel malt and booze, all in pretty large and aggressive doses.

T- Follows the nose with lots of hop bitterness, citric and very piney, is followed up by loads of sweet caramel malt, nice bready texture, has a bitter finish of herbal hops with a bit of black pepper.

M- Full-bodied, thick but smooth and creamy, dry finish, very pleasant.

O- A very tasty barleywine, manages to keep huge flavors working together very nicely. I also tried pairing this with some Roquefort cheese and Old Guardian seriously rocked it, the beer's sweetness, caramel and some nutty flavors came out really well, while the cheese seemed to balance the hops and booze. I had a great time drinking this beer.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, 2012 edition.

deep copper in color, clear. 1/2" cream colored head. fades fairly quickly. fairly piney aroma, but mixed with some biscuit malt.

taste is much more hoppy and bitter that the smell. lingering earthy hop flavors. mouthfeel is a bit stickey. medium thickness & carbonation.

overall - maybe not as over the top as last year's version

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Photo of RickS95
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Release

It's got that classic Barley wine murky look to it. Pours a dark amber with an almost milky quality to it. The head is thinnish and doesn't have much retention, but provides nice lacing.

No mistaking the smell as a Barley wine. It's all malted barley with a backdrop of citrus fruits. As it warms, there's a nice banana breadiness that comes wafting from the glass. If you stick your nose deep into the snifter, the alcohol will burn your nose.

If it's too cold, it's not a good taste, but as it warms, everything your nose picks up will find its way to the tongue. Mostly malt and resinous pine, with the citrus notes.

Pretty tame early on, but then everything hits you...the alcohol and the bittering hops. It's an aggressive beer and definitely a barleywine, but it goes relatively easy on the palate.

The first time I had this, I didn't care for it. But after a second bottle, it's very drinkable for the style.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 into a short glass. Deep amber to light red, creamy light tan/off white head. Completely transparent, little head retention. Very pungent aroma. Mostly pithy grapefruit hop aromas. Some sticky resin and a faint amount of caramel and toffee. The flavor brings more of the same. A huge amount of hops, grapefruit flavor, bitter citrus pith, and behind this there is that little bit of caramel flavor and toffee. The finish has a hint of sweet followed by all bitterness. Clearly a hop forward affair. Thick and rich mouthfeel, almost syrupy, which I like. I just have no idea why I always return to this style, I don't like it. But...this is a good interpretation of it.

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Photo of davey101
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage. 22 oz bomber into a tulip glass.

A - Dark red clear body. One finger light khaki head. Moderate amount of lacing and retention.

S - Great balance between rich toffee malts and grapefruit hops. Caramel, pine, and some dark candied fruits.

T - Super smooth and sweet. Grapefruit and piney hops, vanilla, dark fruits, and rich toffee. Finish is a tad boozy with some faint bitterness. Chewy and smooth mouth feel.

O - Perfect example of an American barley wine. Loads of rich toffee and malt sweetness with just the right amount of citrus hops which lends a nice piney bite. Delicious and well priced.

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Photo of russpowell
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours amber with 2+ fingers of tan head. Much sticky lacing, good lacing

S: Pine & grapefruit & much booze

T: Follows the nose, some pineapple, rich breadyness & dryness up front. Herbal hops, a touch of caramel & much dryness, plus grapefruit by the truckload & pinesap, plus a touch of booze warmth. Finishes piney with some herbal & woody hops

MF: Chewy as all get out, skews hoppy, but there's plenty of malt body there too, subtle moderate carbonation

Full fledged hop assault, this would be a great one to take the winter chill off, but is going down great on a spring evening. The ABV is fairly well hidden. A great American Barleywine for hopheads & the rest of us too!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this is pretty much everything i like in a barleywine. pours clear dark red with a tall off white head that hangs around a bit before fading out. smells like caramel, sweet desserty malts, and an uncommonly hoppy character. flavor is huge, sweet up front like molasses and brown sugar, hoppy like a big ipa on the back end, bitter and resinous. flavors of vanilla, candied orange peel, and alcohol dance in between. feel is great, full bodied and very strong, especially when it warms up. mild carbonation, but not too little. this is a great evening sipper. overall an excellent barleywine, complicated but approachable. i would highly recommend this to any lover of strong ales.

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Photo of mjgarrett2
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 edition Old Guardian

A-Translucent copper color, delicate head like with most barleywines.

S-Extraordinarily enticing: not sure if it is the spices or the malts but a very elegant aroma.

T-Well spiced and a bit tart. Excellent balance (no bite from the alcohol) if a bit bitter on the back end.

M-Great, nothing to complain about.

O-Nothing in particular jumps out at you but I couldn't be happier sipping and enjoying this. Seems a little unremarkable yet I would judge all other barleywines by how well they compare to this one.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 edition, picked up in Knightly Spirits Orlando, and survived the trip back to Canada.

Poured into a Chimay goblet. Nice deep copper ruby hue, with about a half inch head from the pour. Settles into a thick ring.

Nose is classic barleywine: malt heavy, good sweetness, a bit of bread, fruit and light citric hops.

Good take on the style: sweet malt, bread, fruit, grape a dry boozy finish. This brew felt a bit hot - a few months of cellaring would have done well, but it is certainly quite enjoyable as is. Carbonation is sharp, mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly sticky.

Nice barleywine, though nothing to stop the presses over. Worth holding on to if you can pick up one or two at any rate!

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Photo of davewlfpckfan29
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Guardian 2012!

This is the second Old Guardian that I have tried. I had an aged 2010 Old Guardian on tap a couple weeks ago.

This seems to be a great example of a barley wine. Stone does it very well (as they do with any beer they make).

Barley wine really has a unique taste that is hard for me to describe. The tastes I can identify are fruits, lots of them:
Raisins, citrus too. And a brown sugar kind of taste.

My cousin and I agree that this is very comparable to Bigfoot.

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Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a light brown that is slightly red with a dense two finger off white head
S: smells of toffee and caramel along with some herbal and slightly citrusy hops
T: hops on the front with that herbal flavor followed by some caramel and toffee noes. A little back and forth takes place between the two sides. there is the occasional burst of citrus flavor and the swallow brings a bit of alcohol, more resinous earthy hops and a bit of sweetness to finish things off as it all fades away
M: medium bodied with adequate carbonation, a little viscous but not overly so
O: it's good but it needs some time to mellow. Nothing extraordinary but another well crafted beer from Stone. I might have to buy another couple bottles to cellar. I have one put away right now but it seems lonely.

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Photo of yamar68
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crisp copper without a bit of beading. Soft, loose, sticky head. Perfect lacing.

Strong nose - caramel, toffee, raisin, booze, candied sugar, molasses, complex. Translates well to the tongue.

Bitter, boozy start on the tongue which then moves through numerous waves of goodness. Quite nice. Everything in the nose finds a home somewhere in the taste.

Not too easy going down, but it's lovely to sip slowly and savor.

Good stuff.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had been anticipating this one for a while. It pours a nice ruddy orange color with a really good head (maybe I poured too fast). The smell is not very strong. The taste is average barleywine and alcohol. This is the first Stone beer that has ever disappointed me. it wasn’t bad but I always expect to be blown away by Stone seasonal beers (I usually am). The alcohol was pretty noticeable but I think in a year or two this one will be awesome. I plan on picking up a case for aging purposes. Update: 06/2007: This tastes much, much better after having six months behind it. I have to adjust my review accordingly because the flavors really made me smile this time.

Serving type: bottle Reviewed on: 01-29-2007 23:16:39

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Photo of Hoptometrist
3.35/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from the bottle into a tulip glass

A- Poured a very clear and dark ruby/mahogany color with a three finger soapy head that left some minimal lace

S- Big sweet sweet caramel, grapefruit, big breadiness, pungent aroma, molasses, and some hay funk

T- Big sweet breadiness, caramel, molasses, and raisin notes. Grapefruit, hay funk, and lots of alcohol

M- Quite sticky, syrupy, low carbonation, big alcohol warming

O- This is a super sweet beer, a little over the top for me. I think 10 oz. of this beer would have been fine, but a bomber of this was too much for me. I don't have a ton of experience with barleywines and it is not a favorite style of mine, I did like this beer more at first but after a while it became cloying sweet.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer Review # 100! Old Guardian 2012 release

Appearance - Pours a deep, semi-clear reddish copper with a thick, creamy light tan 3-finger head. Excellent retention. Leaves behind a thick, sticky lace.

Smell - Dark fruity ester, citrus hop, brown sugar and a bit of alcohol to boot.

Taste - A complex array of flavors... it's gonna take a bit of time to break it all down. Starts off with a bit of citrus hop, then fades into a caramel malt which then turns dark quickly for a coffee / mocha finish, with a lingering bitterness behind this. Heat is subtle throughout. At 11%, that's not so bad.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied. Somewhat syrupy. As a barleywine, it comes with the territory.

Overall - An excellent barleywine. Not my favorite, but certainly up there. A fine choice for beer review # 100!

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Photo of sommersb
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 04-22-2012
Freshness: 2012 Vintage
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Snifter
Purchased: Single from Midtown, Nashville

A: Clear beer, with a dark red-brown color. The head is tan and creamy, but disappears quickly. Very good lace on the glass.

S: Big hop aromas at first, of pine, citrus and woodiness. But there is also malty sweetness with dark fruits, caramels, brown sugar and molasses. Very complex smells, including an alcohol presence.

T: Initially I get a malty and bready richness, which is then followed by spicy, bitter hops. Warming from the alcohol. The flavors open up nicely as it warms to room temperatures.

M: Thick mouthfeel and body and low-to-medium carbonation. The finish is balanced between sweetness and bitterness, although the bitterness edges out ahead. Somewhat harsh in the aftertastes.

O: Overall a very good barleywine.

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Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, amber color with a one-finger, white head of bubbly foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of sweet maltiness, caramel, toffee and some spices.

T - Good blend of maltiness, caramel, toffee, spicy bitterness and some pine.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a pretty good barleywine. I think some of the older versions of Old Guardian have been better, but this is still good.

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Photo of QuantumPint
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Release from a bomber. Poured into CCB snifter.

A: Pours a hazy, deep amber. Thin head which dissipates quickly.

S: Smells like bread pudding. Raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg reign.

T: Again bread pudding and the aforementioned ingredients. Boozy late and on the finish.

M: Still comfortably crisp, with enough carbonation to give it a pleasant feel. Finish is surprisingly dry.

O: Solid brew. I would definitely drink this again. I'd love to try it with a bit less than 4 years on it.

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Photo of morimech
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2012 release

Pours a clear copper color with a nice two finger head that had good retention. Eventually the head settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of spotty lacing is left on the glass.

There is something odd about the aroma. Sort of smells like an orange cream soda. A cream soda with a bunch of booze in it. More citrus and grassy hops along with caramel malt.

The flavor just does not feel deep to me. The alcohol comes on too strong, too soon. Just not able to savor the malt and hop flavor. Bitterness is high with citrus, grassy flavors. Some toffee malt as well.

Good body and carbonation. Enjoyable, smooth texture.

This beer, like a few other Stone brews, would benefit greatly from some age. A couple of years from now, this beer could be excellant. As it is now, just too hot.

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Photo of steelerguy
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark amber, large off white head, a good bit of carbonation for a barley wine keep the head tall for awhile.

S - Lots of malt in this bad boy, you get hints of toffee, but the aroma is about the hops...earthy and citrus.

T - Starts off with a lot of malt, sweet toffee and some slightly toasted malts. The resinous hop character then comes on with citrus quickly followed by a good bit of alcohol flavor. This barelywine is young and does not come close to hiding the fact that it is 11%...some more age would help smooth it out. End with a bitter bang of hops.

M - Full bodied beer, the alcohol and carbonation help keep it from being overbearing, but this is a sipper regardless. Ends with quite a bit of alcohol warmth.

O - This is good American Barleywine that would certainly improve with some aging. Lots of good flavors and qualities that would meld together and round out over time.

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Photo of 9InchNails
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light copper body color with a lot of noticeable carbonation. Off white head that leaves some lacing on the snifter glass.

Dark fruits, smells very sweet, candy sugar, caramel and some hints of alcohol.

The taste is where its at! Dark fruits, toasted bread, caramel, some bitterness and alcohol at the very end.

Medium body, smooth, light but slightly noticeable carbonation, dry, it doesn't leave the lips feeling sticky surprisingly. Some alcohol warmth going down.

Not quite pungent as the aroma but very smooth and to the point with the taste - the balance of flavors are near perfection.

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 258 ratings.